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Regio ex machina: Om det regionala medborgarskapets villkor
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4688-5313
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Regio Ex Machina : On the Conditions of Regional Citizenship (English)
Abstract [en]

Departing from the ongoing regionalization processes in Europe and other parts of the world, this thesis aims to study the premises and conditions of regional citizenship in contemporary state restructuring. As globalization is viewed to challenge the sovereignty and capacity of nation states, subnational regions have gained authority and interest as key actors to compete on globalized markets of capital in order to ensure future development. This alteration in the balance between the regional and the national raises questions on how aspects of citizenship become negotiated in relation to regions as emphasized political communities. The study therefore develops and applies a productive analysis of regional citizenship based on citizenship theory and poststructuralist discourse theory.

The attempts to reform the administrative region of Värmland, Sweden, between the years 2007 and 2011 functions as a case study in the dissertation.  In relation to this process a variety of materials has been collected in order to shed light on articulatory practices related to the reform: media material, public documents and assessment reports, observations of public dialog meetings and focus groups. Through a discourse analysis of the material the study focuses on the discursive production of regional communities and regional citizens in relation to regional reform. Three different but related articulations of the region emerge in the analysis: the region as a cultural landscape, as a welfare system and as a growth machine.  

The study shows how the understanding of the region as a growth machine holds a hegemonic position in relation to the other articulations. The growth machine is based on a neoliberal notion of development, where competiveness and commodification function as premises to the intrinsic understanding of regional citizens – as well as welfare and culture - as capital that can, and should, be used to facilitate economic growth.         

Abstract [sv]

Runt om i världen byggs större och starkare regioner. Regioner betraktas som i delar en arvtagare till uppgifter som nationalstaterna inte längre anses kunna hantera i en globaliserad värld. Därför har regionerna fått större grad av självständighet från de nationella staterna, frisläppta för att på bästa sätt hitta sätt att locka till sig olika former av globalt rörligt kapital. Kapital som anses utgöra grunden för att kunna bygga ett gott samhälle.  

I den här avhandlingen studeras samtida regionalisering ur ett medborgarskapsperspektiv. Vad innebär det för relationen mellan människor och gemenskap att regionen intar en framskjuten position i samhällsbyggandet? Vilka band knyts mellan regionen och regionmedborgaren i en tid som kännetecknas av globalisering och konkurrens? Hur fördelas rättigheter och skyldigheter mellan regionen och medborgarna, och vad innebär det att vara en god regionmedborgare?

Genom en svensk fallstudie analyseras hur regionen och regionala medborgare görs meningsfulla i anslutning till att regionens framtid förhandlas. Materialet består av pressmaterial, utredningsmaterial, observerade offentliga möten samt fokusgrupper med regionmedborgare. Studien visar hur myten om regionen som en tillväxtmaskin intar en dominerande ställning och hur globala marknadslogiker fungerar som villkor för det regionala medborgarskapet.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. , 248 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:16
Keyword [en]
Regionalization, Discourse analysis, Värmland, Poststructuralist Discourse Theory, Regional Citizenship, Neoliberalism
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35226ISBN: 978-91-7063-627-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-35226DiVA: diva2:788747
Public defence
2015-04-10, Sjöströmsalen 1B309, Karlstad universitet, Karlstad, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-03-25 Created: 2015-02-16 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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